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- Publisher: PICADOR
- Format: Paperback | 416 pages
- Dimensions: 134mm x 196mm x 40mm | 360g
- Publication date: 7 September 2001
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0330488031
- ISBN 13: 9780330488037
- Illustrations note: Illustrations, facsims., ports.
- Sales rank: 156,490
'Robb has written a great biography - scholarly, humane and above all marvelously entertaining' - "Guardian". Graham Robb's brilliant biography moves Rimbaud on from his perpetual adolescence where our imaginations have held him to show the extent of his transformations. From phenomenally precocious schoolboy he became Europe's most shocking and exhilarating poet, author of poems that range from the exquisite to the obscene. But this brief, five-year period as the enfant-terible of French literature is only one small side of Rimbaud's story. Robb takes us on a biographical journey through three continents and many different identities. Rimbaud emerges from this stunning work of biographical scholarship and historical imagination as an even more complex, ambiguous and fascinating figure than ever before.
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Graham Robb was born in Manchester in 1958. He has published widely in nineteenth-century French literature: his highly acclaimed adaptation of Claude Pichois and Jean Ziegler's biography of Baudelaire appeared in 1989, his biography of Balzac was published in 1994, and his Victor Hugo - winner of the Royal Society of Literature Heinemann Award and the Whitbread Biography Award - in 1997. He lives in Oxford.
'Robb has written a great biography - scholarly, humane and above all marvelously entertaining' Guardian
Robb's biographies of Balzac and Victor Hugo immediately found their place on the shelf of life's great gripping reads, and this captivating and monumental biography of Rimbaud deserves a place beside them. It is said (by the author) that Rimbaud's precocious abandonment of his poetry 'has caused more lasting, widespread consternation than the break up of the Beatles'. Certainly Rimbaud maintained a remarkably prevalent position in the public eye both during his life and posthumously. He led myriad lives - from docker to tutor, to explorer, gun-runner, money-changer and even, in the eyes of some, Muslim prophet - though never, ironically that of a poet. His wholly unprecedented voice has spoken to generations of equally varied characters. Many writers, musicians and artists have been influenced by him, and disciples range from Picasso and Jean Cocteau to Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison. The novelty and possibilities of Rimbaud's verse draw this marvellous mixture of readers from all directions. Coupled with Robb's talent for constructing a good yarn, Rimbaud's biography gives itself entirely to this unusual breadth of readership. (Kirkus UK)